Family and friends pay a moving tribute to ‘lovely’ community campaigner

Northowram Scarecrow festival. Organisers, from the left, councillor Peter Caffrey, Alison MacGrath, Steve Collingwood, Molly Varley, Richard Priestley and Helen Silson.
Northowram Scarecrow festival. Organisers, from the left, councillor Peter Caffrey, Alison MacGrath, Steve Collingwood, Molly Varley, Richard Priestley and Helen Silson.

Tributes have been paid to a community campaigner who passed away after a short illness, aged 46.

Helen Silson, who helped organise the Northowram Scarecrow event and helped first launch the village Christmas lights, died peacefully in Overgate Hospice on Friday.

Her husband of 26 years, Mick, said: “I don’t think she ever had a fall out with anyone, she was that sort of person.

“She really loved talking to people and loved getting involved.”

Raised in the village, Helen had run the village newsagents for the last five years.

And any spare time the mother-of-four had was taken up by her community work.

Diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus in April, her final visit home was for the most recent festive Christmas switch-on.

“She was with her family and it was a very tender moment for us all,” added Mick.

Secretary to the scarecrow committee, Alison Priestley, said: “She was lovely, she was one of the kindest people you could ever know and it is a privilege to call myself a friend.

“With her four boys and two grandchildren she was very family orientated but always gave a helping hand to people and supported them.’’

Helen’s funeral will be at St Matthew’s Church in Northowram on Wednesday, December 14, at 9.45am, followed by cremation at Park Wood, Elland.